The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced the launch of a new series of official virtual events, including a motorsport component to be played out within the familiar video game world of Gran Turismo.
It’s called the Olympic Virtual Series (OVS) and it will go down from May 13 to June 23, before the actual Olympic Games in Tokyo, which have been delayed from their original 2020 date. The OVO will feature digital competitors (athletes?) from around the world facing off in the arenas of virtual baseball, cycling, rowing, sailing, and motorsport.
It’s kind of a big moment in e-sports, with validation coming from one of the most iconic sporting institutions in the world. Wonder what the Romans would think—
Created by Polyphony Digital, Gran Turismo has been the gold standard in video-game racing since its PlayStation 1 debut in 1997, so it checks out that the IOC has chosen it as the medium on which to test the best digital drivers.
“The Olympic Virtual Series is a new, unique Olympic digital experience that aims to grow direct engagement with new audiences in the field of virtual sports,” said IOC President Thomas Bach in a prepared statement. “Its conception is in line with Olympic Agenda 2020+5 and the IOC’s Digital Strategy. It encourages sports participation and promotes the Olympic values, with a special focus on youth.”
Organizers say they also plan to hold a “mass-participation Series” ahead of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 that will encourage gamers and Olympics fans around the world to log on to experience the events themselves.
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